Law Society Referral Service - Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who is the service available to?
The on-line referral service is available to residents of Ontario. Non residents are not eligible for a referral, but are welcome to use the Law Society Lawyer and Paralegal Directory. Note: Use of the directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with the lawyer/paralegal.
2. Is there a cost to the service?
No. The on-line request, the referral process, and your initial consultation of up to 30 minutes are free. The consultation is meant to help you determine your rights and options. You should not expect the legal representative to do any free legal work during this time - that is not the purpose of the consultation. You may ask the legal representative during the consultation what it may cost to have your legal work done.
3. How do I access the service?
This is an on-line service. To make a request, scroll to the bottom of this page and click "Next"
4. I am in a crisis. Can I still use LSRS?
Please read the following carefully:
When you contact LSRS, we will give you a referral number and the legal representative’s phone number. Call the legal representative’s office, leave your name, phone number, and the referral number. Someone will contact you within three business days to arrange for your consultation.
If you cannot wait up to three days for the legal representative to call back and arrange a fixed time for the consultation, or if it would be a problem for you to leave a call-back number for the legal representative, please contact LSRS by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not use the on-line referral service if you are in crisis, such as being in custody. Please phone LSRS directly - 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 (within the GTA), Monday - Friday between 9 am - 5 pm.
You may wish to refer to our Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to assist you in finding a legal representative. Note: Use of the directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with the lawyer/paralegal.
5. What are the benefits of LSRS?
LSRS will help you find a lawyer or paralegal who provides legal services in the area of law that meets your needs. The service can also help you find a legal representative who meets specific requirements, such as speaking a certain language or accepting Legal Aid certificates (lawyers only).
Lawyers or paralegals participating in the service will offer you up to a half-hour free consultation. This consultation may be over the phone or in person (the choice is up to the legal representative). During this time, you may ask:
- How the law applies to your situation
- How to use the law to solve your legal problem
- How long the legal work may take
- How much the legal representative will charge
After the consultation, you can decide if you want to hire the legal representative to work for you.
6. What happens when I contact LSRS?
Your on-line request will be processed immediately if there is a legal representative who matches the criteria you select. Before you make the request, please consider the following to help clarify your needs:
- Are you planning to hire a lawyer or a paralegal?
- Where in Ontario do you want the legal representative to be located?
- What do you want the legal representative to do for you?
- Are you planning to apply for Legal Aid? LSRS is available to Legal Aid clients, but some lawyers do not take Legal Aid cases and paralegals cannot accept Legal Aid cases.
You can also search for a legal representative who can meet special needs, such as speaking a certain language or having a wheelchair accessible office.
Once you have submitted your request, if a match is found, you will be given the name and telephone number of a legal representative, as well as a referral number. This information will be displayed on the screen and you will have the option to send it to your email address. The legal representative will be provided with your name. Note: If you ask for an email and you do not receive one, please check your email account’s Spam or Junk folder to ensure the message was not filtered. Add email@example.com to your address book to receive all LSRS emails.
Call the legal representative’s office, leave your name, telephone number, and referral number. Tell them you received their name from LSRS. Someone should call you back within three business days to arrange the free consultation.
7. My consultation with a legal representative is all set up. What do I do now?
The lawyer or paralegal needs to hear your story. What happened? Why do you want to hire a legal representative?
You can prepare for your conversation with the legal representative in the following ways:
- Think about what you are going to say. Plan to explain your situation clearly and simply, starting from the beginning.
- Gather together any papers that are important. Although the legal representative will not review your documents during the consultation (since that is considered legal work), you may wish to have them with you in case you decide to hire the legal representative.
- When you talk to the legal representative, speak openly. The legal representative needs to know details and sometimes personal information in order to understand how the law applies to your situation.
- During your conversation with the legal representative, you may want to write down a few notes. This may help later, when you are trying to remember exactly what the legal representative said.
The purpose of the consultation is to give you information about how the law applies and to find out more about the lawyer or paralegal. By the end of the consultation, you should know more about your legal options and an estimated cost to hire the legal representative to work for you.
For more information see Your Lawyer and You - Frequently Asked Questions or Lawyers and Paralegals: Helping You With Your Legal Needs.
8. I asked LSRS to give me the name of a legal representative. We met, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I would like to find another legal representative to work for me. Can I?
You are under no obligation to use the legal representative whose name you got from LSRS, nor is the legal representative obliged to take you on as a client. LSRS does not offer second referrals for the same legal issue. In other words, you may not use the LSRS referral process to get a second opinion on the same issue from a different legal representative. You may wish to refer to our Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to assist you in finding a legal representative. Use of the directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with the lawyer/paralegal.
9. I have a simple legal problem and would like a legal representative to write a letter for me. Can a legal representative do this during my free half-hour consultation?
No. During the half-hour consultation, the legal representative’s job is to discuss your legal situation and explain your options. The legal representative cannot write letters for you, or prepare other documents as part of the consultation, since this is considered legal work. You may use LSRS to help you find a legal representative. You can then discuss how much it would cost to get your legal work done for you.
Please note: LSRS is unable to identify legal representatives who work on a contingency basis or accept pro bono matters.